There’s one question on the mind of everyone who uses social media these days: Will TikTok get banned? Whether you’re on TikTok as a viewer or content creator, or you’re on other social platforms, banning TikTok is an important conversation.
You might be asking yourself “Really? Is it important? It’s just a social platform after all.” Yes, TikTok is one of many social media platforms, but the conversation around “Will TikTok get banned?” Goes beyond one platform. It’s about information, how we share it, where it comes from, and what it means beyond a means of sharing funny videos.
Here at Mr. Thrive Media, as a business working with social media on a daily basis, we’re invested in the conversation around the potential ban on TikTok. Whether you’re a user of social media or not, it’s a conversation you should be a part of too.
In this Mr. Thrive blog, we’ll dive into the conversation. We’ll discover why the ban on TikTok is about more than our ability to share videos with friends.
Will TikTok Get Banned?
The question of “Will TikTok get banned?” Is buzzing around the internet these days. For the frame of reference, at the time we’re writing this blog post, it’s March 30, 2023. We’re in the middle of a debate between political leaders, world leaders, and TikTok enthusiasts that has the potential to change our conversational landscape.
Within the last few months, with a ramp-up in recent weeks, the question of a ban on TikTok has been gaining momentum. There are already a range of countries that have banned TikTok in different capacities. Different members of the U.S. government, federally and state by state, are pushing for more widespread bans.
Even with the move toward a ban from so many outspoken voices, the question remains: Will TikTok get banned? In some ways, it already has. In other ways, we don’t know yet.
Worldwide TikTok Bans
There are worldwide TikTok bans that have already taken place. Notably, in mid-2020 India banned TikTok. In that ban, India came down on 59 Chinese-owned apps. They claimed the apps were transmitting user data to sources outside of India.
Other countries which have banned TikTok to varying degrees are Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taiwan, Canada, the European Union, and now the United States. These places have a variety of reasons for their different bans.
Pakistan has temporarily banned TikTok at least four times since October of 2020, due to concerns about the app promoting immoral content. Afghanistan banned TikTok in 2022 for similar reasons, claiming the app was misleading children and young adults.
In December of 2022, Taiwan enacted a public sector ban on TikTok. This came about from a warning from the FBI about TikTok posing a risk to national security. In Taiwan government devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and desktops, Chinese-made software is banned.
Canada and the United States currently have some similar levels of a TikTok ban. The bans actively in place cover government devices. The U.S. has given government agencies 30 days to delete TikTok from federal devices and systems. Following that ban, Canada imposed a ban on TikTok on government devices, citing TikTok as an “unacceptable” risk to privacy and security.
For the European Union, the European Parliament, European Commission, and EU Council have all imposed bans on TikTok for staff devices. The European Parliament’s ban took effect on March 20, 2023. It also included a suggestion for lawmakers and staff to remove the app on their personal devices.
TikTok Ban In the U.S.
When it comes to the TikTok ban in the U.S. it’s hard to say what direction the U.S. as a whole will take. Since November of 2022, over two dozen states have already banned TikTok on government-issued devices. Many colleges, including the University of Texas at Austin, Auburn University, and Boise State University, have blocked TikTok on campus Wi-Fi.
TikTok has been banned since 2020 on U.S. government devices used by the Army, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. That said, those bans, and the one recently enacted on government devices, don’t stop people from using TikTok on personal devices. That issue is the one being hotly debated as we write this.
Notably, in January of 2023, Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, introduced a bill that would ban TikTok for all Americans. Hawley was a powerful voice behind the ban of TikTok on federal devices.
The Biden Administration
The current news from the Biden administration is leaning toward the possibility of a ban. According to TikTok, the administration is asking for the current owners of TikTok to sell the app or face a possible ban. There is limited information coming directly from the White House. It’s hard to say exactly what will happen.
The matter at hand goes beyond whether the federal government will ban TikTok. At its heart, the issue revolves around the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
If the government bans TikTok on a widespread, public scale, they’re opening themselves up to trouble. They’ll face the argument that stopping Americans from using an app is a violation of our right to freedom of speech.
Can TikTok Be Banned?
We started this blog post with the question of “Will TikTok get banned?” When we consider all the variables in this equation, the follow-up question we should be asking is, can TikTok be banned? Is it legal to ban an app from the general public? On what grounds?
How could the government enact the ban? App stores can stop downloads, and the app can be stopped from any updates. But they can’t remove it from our phones. How would it work? These are the questions we don’t have exact answers for. We should, however, all be thinking about them when it comes to TikTok and freedom of speech in general.
TikTok In the Marketing and Podcasting Industry
Here at Mr. Thrive, we’re interested in the conversation around the potential TikTok ban because of the larger implications of a ban, but our interest is also personal. TikTok is tied to everything we do because TikTok is intrinsically linked with marketing and podcasting.
Since TikTok hit center stage of the world of social media, it’s been a place for businesses of every type to promote their services and products. There are podcasters who use TikTok to share their episodes, and TikTok marketing is a full-fledged pillar of social media marketing.
If a nationwide TikTok ban goes into effect, it’ll remove a cornerstone of marketing and podcasting. The communities everyone in this industry has built on TikTok will need to find a new gathering place, or they’ll fade away.
It’s always best to be prepared for the extremes of a situation. With that in mind, we’ve been focusing some of our energy throughout this conversation around the TikTok ban on where we can do similar work if TikTok is banned.
For Mr. Thrive, we’re thinking about where we can promote our own business and those of our clients. Those needs are applicable industry-wide. There are many apps out there that can and do provide a similar service to TikTok. Those apps include:
- YouTube (shorts)
If a TikTok ban goes into effect, these apps will be easy ways to maintain a community that would otherwise be lost. There’s no doubt there will also be new apps popping up if TikTok is banned.
Frequently Asked Questions About the TikTok Ban
The question of “Will TikTok get banned?” Has sparked controversy and questions across the world wide web. The answer is complicated. In some places, TikTok is already banned. In others, it’s hard to say whether it’s legal to completely ban TikTok.
There’s only so much clarity any of us have on these questions. Our answers to these frequently asked questions shed more light, where there is light to shed.
Can TikTok Get Banned?
TikTok can get banned to varying degrees. In the United States individual states, corporations, and government agencies can ban TikTok in limited settings. As for the legality of banning TikTok for the entire country, it’s hard to say. Logically, the answer is no, it’s illegal to ban something that provides people freedom of speech. In actuality, it’s hard to say.
Who Is TikTok Owned By?
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a company based in Beijing. ByteDance also owns Douyin, which is widely known as an earlier version of TikTok that remains active in China. Douyin isn’t available outside of mainland China. To date, ByteDance remains the owner of Douyin and TikTok. That may change as the conversation around the TikTok ban goes forward.
What Will Happen If TikTok Is Banned?
If TikTok is banned nationwide the immediate reactions could range from subtle to volatile. Things will change rapidly for TikTok content creators and influencers.
For everyone, a ban on TikTok could be the beginning of losing our right to free speech. Ultimately, it’s hard to say what would happen, but it would be tumultuous.
Is TikTok Okay To Use Now?
Right now, TikTok is still legal to use. From another perspective, if this question comes from a place of worry about the potential for information being leaked, it’s a personal decision. When we put our information online for algorithms to see, we’re consenting to share information, even if we don’t think in those terms.
Who Made TikTok Famous?
Charli D’Amelio is widely noted as one of the first famous content creators and influencers of TikTok. Her first post on TikTok was in May of 2019, and her first viral post was in July of 2019. To this day, with so many creators on TikTok, Charli D’Amelio remains one of the most recognized names.
TikTok: Is TikTok Running Out of Time?
Will TikTok get banned? Is it legal to ban everyone from using an app? What does that mean for our freedom of speech? Will this change the future discourse on what the government can do? These are questions we don’t have all the answers to. Even if we can’t answer them all, it’s vital that we continue to talk about them.
Here at Mr. Thrive, we aren’t always talking about TikTok on our blog. We can guarantee, however, that we’re always having an open discussion. Come back to the Mr. Thrive blog whenever you’re looking for a conversation on social media, podcasting, marketing, and everything in between.